A trial looking at using a combination of imaging methods to improve radiotherapy treatment for bladder cancer (IDEAL Trial)

Cancer type:

Bladder cancer
Transitional cell cancer




Phase 1

This trial is looking at combining 3 different ways to plan radiotherapy treatment for bladder cancer. This is so the doctors can target the cancer more accurately and give a higher dose of radiotherapy than they are normally able to.

More about this trial

Before starting treatment the doctors will carefully plan your radiotherapy treatment, so they know how much to give and where to give it. This is to make sure that they give the highest dose of radiation to your cancer and as little as possible to the surrounding healthy tissue. As a part of the planning they will do a ‘planning CT scan’.

But the bladder is a stretchy bag of muscle that can change size, shape and position. In this study the researchers will make a set of treatment plans so that they are able to treat the different sizes of the bladder.

They will also use a combination of 3 different ways to plan the radiotherapy treatment of your bladder tumour, to make sure that they are giving the highest dose of radiation to the tumour and as little as possible to the surrounding healthy tissue.

The 3 ways are

  • Fiducial markers around the tumour, for example gold seeds
  • MRI scan
  • Cone beam CT scan

Gold seeds are small bits of gold placed around the tumour in your bladder. By placing the fiducial markers around your tumour the doctors are better able to see where it is on a scan.

The cone beam CT scan is a new type of CT scan. When you are in the treatment room and ready to have your radiotherapy, the researchers will take a picture using the cone beam CT scan before your treatment. They will use the pictures from the scan to see where your tumour is and so choose the best treatment plan for you on that day.

The MRI scan is a new type, taken in a way that the researchers think will be able to give them more information about where the tumour is and if the treatment has worked.

The aims of this trial are to find out

  • What is the highest dose of radiotherapy that can safely be given
  • What are the side effects of the radiotherapy
  • What is the effect on people’s quality of life

Who can enter

You can enter this trial if

  • You have bladder cancer that has grown into the muscle layer of the bladder (invasive bladder cancer) but has not gone beyond the surrounding tissue of the bladder (stage T2a – T4)
  • Your cancer has spread to no more than 3 lymph nodes Open a glossary item
  • You have had a procedure called trans urethral resection of bladder tumour (TURBT) to remove as much of your tumour as possible
  • You are due to have radiotherapy to try and cure your cancer
  • You are fully active and able to carry out your normal daily activities apart from heavy physical work (performance status 0, 1)
  • You have satisfactory blood test results

You cannot enter this trial if you

Trial design

This is a phase 1 trial. It will recruit between 30 to 60 people from The Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

The first 10 to 20 people taking part in the trial will have radiotherapy at the lowest dose. If they don’t have any serious side effects, the next 10 to 20 people taking part will have radiotherapy at a higher dose. And so on, until they find the best dose of radiotherapy to give. This is called a ‘dose escalation’ study.

Everyone will have daily radiotherapy 5 times a week (Monday to Friday) for 6 ½ weeks.

Before planning radiotherapy your doctor will assess you to see if you are suitable to have fiducial markers, such as gold seeds, placed around your tumour. If you are, you will have a cystoscopy under a general anaesthetic to put the markers in place.

When the doctors are planning your radiotherapy, they will take CT scans of the area between your hips (your pelvis). Each scan takes a few minutes. You will empty your bladder. You then drink about 2 to 3 cups of water. You will have 2 scans taken as your bladder fills, at 30 and 60 minutes.

You empty your bladder 30 minutes before each treatment and then drink 2 to 3 cups of water. When you are in the treatment room and ready to have treatment, the researchers will take a picture of the area between your hips with the cone beam CT scan. They will use this to find out the size, shape and position of your bladder on each day and choose the best treatment plan for that day.

You will be asked to fill in a questionnaire before you start treatment and then after treatment at 1, 3 and 6 months, then at 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 years.

The questionnaire will ask you about how you are feeling and any side effects you have. This is called a quality of life study.

Hospital visits

You will see the doctor and have some tests before you start treatment. These test include

During treatment you see the doctor every week and have blood tests.

After your radiotherapy you see the doctor

  • Monthly for 3 months
  • Every 3 months to 18 months
  • Every 6 months to 3 years
  • Every year


Side effects

You will have an extra amount of radiation from the extra CT scans and cone beam CT scans. But it is a small amount compared with the overall dose from your radiotherapy.

You can find out about the side effects of radiotherapy to the bladder on CancerHelp UK.

You have the gold seeds put in place while you are asleep, during an internal examination of your bladder (a cystoscopy under a general anaesthetic).



Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Robert Huddart

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
Royal College of Radiologists
The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials in the UK last year.

Last reviewed:

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